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Nottingham Law School expands support for people going through court without representation

Hundreds of Nottingham Law School students will be providing practical and emotional support for people going through court without representation as Nottingham Trent University (NTU) expands its relationship with national charity, Support Through Court.

Nottingham Law School, part of NTU, has been chosen by Support Through Court to exclusively deliver its national online support service and is currently one of a small number of confirmed UK universities selected to offer a hybrid (in-person and online) service for members of the local community.

The charity provides practical and emotional support to people who are facing civil or family court alone so that they can represent themselves to the best of their abilities, such as those who are going through a divorce, seeking custody of their children, defending or putting forward a personal injury claim or facing eviction from their home.

Nottingham Law School students will volunteer with the charity, with up to 48 students per day working shifts to support members of the public. They will offer help such as explaining how court works, filling in forms and organising papers, discussing settling issues, preparing what to say in court and, if needed, attending court for support afterwards.

Nottingham Law School has worked with Support Through Court – previously known as the Personal Support Unit – for seven years and is now extending its support after the charity’s funding from the Ministry of Justice ended.

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Along with student volunteers from all of its courses, NTU will offer premises, IT equipment and client meeting rooms. Students will be trained and supported by Support Through Court supervisors.

The Nottingham hybrid service is due to launch in October, with the national online service to follow in December.

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Laura Pinkney, head of Nottingham Law School’s teaching law firm, NLS Legal, said: “We are proud to partner with Support Through Court to help them to provide such a fantastic and vital service. At Nottingham Law School, we are committed to enriching society by improving access to justice and to providing our law students with outstanding opportunities to undertake real life practical experience. This important partnership embodies those values and will ensure we are supporting the community through hugely challenging times, whilst equipping our law students with the skills they need to be the exceptional legal professionals of the future.”

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Jo Wardle, University Partnerships Manager at Support Through Court, said: “Support Through Court has had the privilege of working with Nottingham Trent University and their students for many years to support people going through court as litigants in person. Nottingham Law School’s reputation speaks for itself for its innovation, commitment to the community and to the student experience.

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“We are thrilled to develop our partnership by re-locating our Nottingham Service to the university, serving the local community. Nottingham Trent University will also host our new nationwide service, Support Through Court Online, which will support people no matter where they live. Cuts to our services and the rising cost of living mean that our support is needed more than ever before.

“With the support of the University and by welcoming greater numbers of its student to support our two Nottingham-based services, we will increase our support capacity to be there for those facing court alone.”

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